New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently introduced a LONG overdue proposal for legalizing e-bikes and e-scooters, switching gears weeks after shooting down similar legislation because of concerns about safety. I am a strong advocate for e-bikes because they provide a transportation alternative that is healthier and more environmentally friendly than cars and trucks.
In hilly cities like Corning and Ithaca, e-bikes can make the difference so that more people are able to effectively and efficiently commute.
In December, Cuomo vetoed the measure and called it “fatally flawed” because it lacked safety regulations such as helmet requirements.
“New transportation technologies like e-bikes and e-scooters pose exciting potential as a sustainable alternative to vehicles, but we need clear laws and regulations that put the safety of riders and pedestrians first,” Cuomo said in announcing the proposal.
Local governments would be able to opt out of having e-bikes and e-scooters, and could also come up with their own safety regulations for operators, according to Cuomo’s proposal.
Also in Cuomo’s proposal:
- E-bikes and e-scooters cannot be used on sidewalks.
- The maximum speed is 15 mph on e-scooters.
- The maximum speed limit on e-bikes is 20 mph for Class 1 and 2 and 25 mph for Class 3.
- E-bike and e-scooter users must be at least 16 years old.
- All Class 3 e-bike riders must wear helmets.
- All e-scooter riders under 18 years old must wear helmets.
- Local municipalities can require helmets for all e-bike riders.
Worker advocacy and transportation groups are supporting Cuomo’s plan, saying it’s good news for delivery workers and will help reduce road congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.
Last year, Cuomo and state lawmakers agreed on new climate goals in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Its main goal is reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state to 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. The state’s transportation sector is responsible for 35 percent of the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
I hope our state representatives in the Twin Tiers support Cuomo’s e-bike and e-scooter plan as a boost for the economy, the environment, and the improved health of our state residents!
Thank you for reading,
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”